© Herald Photo by Dave Leaderhouse
Lakeland District chef de mission Lyle Campbell, centre, passes out 2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games jackets to synchronized swim team members Adriena Bates, left, and Lexus Neil at the pep rally held in the Ches Leach Lounge on Sunday. The Winter Games begin on Sunday with the opening ceremonies at the Art Hauser Centre and for six days will feature competitions in 16 different sports.
There was something for everyone at the Lakeland District pep rally on Sunday.
There were introductions of the more than 200 athletes, coaches and mission staff who will represent this district at the 2014 Saskatchewan Winter Games beginning next Sunday in Prince Albert.
There was singing and dancing and even a mock rehearsal of a flash mob that is scheduled to appear at both the opening and closing ceremonies.
Finally, there were some surprise announcements as to who will carry flags and torches and say oaths on behalf of the players and coaches.
But, for everyone in attendance, there was one clear message delivered by Lakeland District chef de mission, Lyle Campbell.
“Simply put, we want everyone to have fun,” said Campbell. “This is the first time for a lot of you who will be competing in a multi-sport event so take full advantage of this opportunity.”
“The Olympic Games are going on in Sochi; this is your Olympic Games,” added Campbell.
The Saskatchewan Winter Games were first held in 1974 so with this being the 40th anniversary, the Prince Albert host committee is doing everything possible to make this the biggest and best ever.
There will be competitions held in 16 different sports including snowboarding for the very first time. A total of 11 venues will host the events and a large cultural component will bring everything together.
More than 2,000 people are expected to take part in the event, which is divided into two segments. Add this to the 50th anniversary of the Prince Albert Winter Festival and the annual running of the Sled Dog Challenge and the city is going to be buzzing with activity.
“Traditionally we (Lakeland District) are strong in a few sports, but more than anything we want them to enjoy the experience,” said Campbell, who was also with Team Lakeland when they finished third in points at the 2010 Winter Games in Moose Jaw.
After the local group P.A. Power led the large audience in some singing and dancing, Campbell revealed who will get special honours at the opening ceremonies.
Carrying the banners into the arena will be Brett Sather (judo) from Prince Albert and Brittany Aasen (alpine skiing) from Fairy Glen; bringing in the Games flag will be Claire Crittenden (figure skating) from Hudson Bay; the torch carriers will be Kalyn Boutin (bowling) from Prince Albert and Talon Thomas (men’s hockey) from Beardy’s; the athlete’s oath will be said by Tiana Stewart (air pistol) from Prince Albert and Ryan Potts (cross-country skiing) from Shellbrook while the coach’s oath will be read by William Jefferies (cross country skiing) from Shellbrook and Connie Lam (synchronized swimming) from Prince Albert.
More than 1,000 volunteers are in place to ensure the Games are a success and judging from the reaction on Sunday there is little doubt the rest of the province is in for the time of their lives.